Okay, let me address first the elephant in the room. I know I said in Part 3 that we could make this a monthly thing, but since that post, we haven’t made one of these in a while, and that was over a year ago, so I’d like to apologize for not following up, and not make the same promise today.
Now that’s out of the way, a lot of high-quality roguelites have been released since then, and unfortunately, some of those games did not enjoy the kind of popularity you’d expect even if the game was really good.
That being said, this is why we make articles like this: so that we can highlight roguelite games that are probably just as good as games like Cult of the Lamb, Dead Cells, or Vampire Survivors, but sadly got the short end of the stick when it comes to getting notoriety.
What are the criteria for a game to be a “Hidden Gem”?
For a game to be considered a “hidden gem”, we are using the following criteria:
- Since we’re not able to see how many copies the game has been sold on Steam, we’re going for the next best thing, which is the number of reviews. The game has to have 1,000 reviews or less.
- Since some newer games may have less than 1,000 reviews but would likely break that barrier, we are only including games that are at least 6 months old, so games released after April 15, 2023, will not be included in this list.
The Void Rains Upon Her Heart
Let me start by saying that this game’s inclusion on a list like this has been long overdue. As of this writing, the game has an absolutely perfect 100% “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating out of 605 reviews on Steam. That’s right, everyone who reviewed the game had nothing but positive things to say about The Void Rains Upon Her Heart!
At its core, the game is a side-scrolling boss rush bullet hell roguelite, but I use the term “side-scrolling” a little loosely here because there’s nothing to scroll since you get to the boss at the start of the stage. Nonetheless, the boss battles are very challenging, not to mention rewarding since once you beat the boss, you get a bunch of rewards like Karma, and you get to choose your next boss opponent.
Oddly enough, the game is in its fifth year in Early Access, and there’s a reason for that. For all intents and purposes, “Void” could’ve easily passed as a fully launched game years ago, but developer Veyeral Games keeps on frequently pumping out new content. In fact, they have announced that a new mode called the “Towers Mode” is set to release at the end of October!
The thing that amazes me about this game though is this: you know how a huge majority of roguelite games’ appeal is about you kicking ass? Well “Void” is the complete opposite of that! I LOVE the message that the game conveys, and that is instead of solving everything through violence, you send love their way, kind of like Sailor Moon.
Overall, this game is on the brink of exploding in popularity, and I believe it’s not a matter of if, but when.
Get it here: Steam
Rock n’ Roll is still alive and kickin’! Back when I reviewed the game 18 months ago, I had a lot of good things to say about Battle Bands, and for good reason: it’s a very ambitious deckbuilder roguelite that tries to reinvent the wheel while staying true to its “Rock n’ Roll” roots, and, in my opinion, it succeeded in both.
Each soundtrack in this game not only sounds amazing but also fits within the opposing team. And speaking of the opposing team, each of them has their subtle differences: from looks, music, and, of course, cards, the last of which calls for different strategies.
So they won half the battle with the “bands” thing, but what about the “battle” thing? Fortunately, Aerie Digital was also able to pull off a strategic card game that separates itself from other deckbuilder roguelites with mechanics that are easy to learn, an overworld map that looks like a band touring, and the ability to either play 1-4 characters in a band or better yet, play a multiplayer deckbuilder!
The game is still in Early Access so you can count on the Dev Team to pump more content into this game, so if you want to rock on without having to learn any instruments, then Battle Bands is your best bet!
Get it here: Steam
Leap of Fate
I was able to get this game years ago, way before roguelites.com was created and I didn’t even know what a roguelite is. Nonetheless, I had a blast playing the game and spent countless hours on it.
Whether it is the fast-paced isometric combat, the 4 different available characters, the randomly generated skill trees, or the different card-based scenarios you get at each level, Leap of Fate will keep you wanting more after you die, a lot.
Why the game isn’t as popular though may have been due to another title that arrived before it that also had the same setting where the levels you explore depend on the cards you choose, and it also had a “Fate” name on it, and that game rose in popularity. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I was referring to Hand of Fate.
Striking similarities aside, Leap of Fate has things that differentiate itself from Hand of Fate while also being just as fun, and, in my opinion, its progression system is much more robust, so hopefully, players would give this one a shot.
If you’re a frequent reader of the articles that I’ve published before, you’d probably think that I’m a mark for this game, and you’d be right. Also, you can count on hearing more about this game from me in the future because that’s how highly I revere this masterpiece from solo developer Raffaele Picca.
The game may or may not have been inspired by Space Invaders Extreme as it features captivating graphics and visual effects reminiscent of that. It also boasts an amazing plethora of soundtracks that you can’t help but appreciate as you shoot through countless waves of enemies.
It does have some shortcomings that I need to point out, though. One, the build variety could use some work. Also, I’m not really a fan of the “Convoy” system as they’re basically meat shields that not only are terrible offensively, they sometimes even block your own bullets!
All that said, I still hold Beat Invaders in high regard. In fact, I placed it at number 6 on my Top 25 Best Roguelite Games of 2022! It is also the first roguelite game I’ve managed to fully upgrade its permanent progression, and even then, I still play it almost every day just so I can see my name on the Daily and Weekly Scoreboards.
Get it here: Steam
Show of hands: who here likes “Don’t Starve” and “Don’t Starve Together”? Now, if you take its open-world survival crafting mechanics and turn the difficulty up to eleven, you’ll get Notrium. Oh yeah, Notrium was released 10 years before “Don’t Starve”.
One of the first roguelite games to ever hit the market and most likely the first survival crafting game ever, Notrium just gets the “survival” aspect down pat. Not only do you have to worry about aliens wanting to eat you, but you also have to manage your hunger while making sure you don’t freeze to death.
The “crafting” aspect of the game is also excellent. There are a ton of items you can pick up which leads to a lot of possible crafting combinations. You can be a modern-day MacGyver and build barriers, chargers, radios, and weapons from items you pick up on your journey.
One thing to keep in mind though that this game was released in 2003, and as such, its age is showing. It’s not the most visually pleasing, and the combat and movement can be janky at times. Still, Notrium is a surprisingly deep game, and you can definitely expect a lot of twists and turns as you attempt to finish the story.
And lots of deaths. Definitely expect lots of deaths.
Get it here: Steam